Director of marketing and pr, Lisa Condit, and The Hanover Theatre’s president and CEO, Troy Siebels, answer your questions and give an update on the theatre’s financial situation in this week’s Behind the Scenes program with WCRN 830AM and Talk of the Commonwealth. Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below. Then tune into WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.
Lisa: What seems to be the crux of what people are asking you?
Troy: I think people are concerned about the theatre. They see that we’ve been forced to close our doors for a couple of months. It’s a big deal for us, but we are resilient, and we have a lot of support out there. Right now, we’re just planning for the best possible future that we can and are thinking about how the world is going to come back.
Lisa: One of the things that I think is so interesting is that you are somebody who embodies why the performing arts are important, especially when, as a nonprofit, we’re working toward the future. Why is The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory important with everything that is going on right now?
Troy: I think that exposure to the performing arts is important for everyone.
The arts ask audience members to step into someone else’s shoes and see something from their perspective, and if we ever needed empathy in the world, this is the time.
Beyond that, theatre teaches self-confidence, teamwork and assurance. It affects everybody to that point, but it affects some people on a transformational level. I was never a big athlete. I was a theatre kid. Theatre enables kids who have not found a place in the world to find that place in friends and relationships.
Lisa: Anyone that knows you knows that you are very intelligent and that you could’ve gone into anything… math, data or analysis. Let’s talk a little about why you ended up in the performing arts. What was your first exposure to the performing arts?
Troy: I went to see a performance of South Pacific at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts when I was very young, and I never looked back. It opened my eyes to a world that I never knew was there. That was how you made friendships and relationships that lasted the rest of your life. I think everybody needs a little bit, and some people need a lot, of it.
Lisa: The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory is a nonprofit organization and a business. All of this experience that you touched on shows amazing skills that you’ve been able to bring to our community and the theatre.
Troy: People don’t always appreciate that the theatre is a nonprofit. The truth is, the dollars go to the shows, where they should go. The $3 fee that you pay at the box office goes to us, and that is what sustains us. Losing that revenue is a big hit. We’ve always been fiscally responsible as an organization. We are prioritizing our staff and volunteers, the people that have given the theatre their lives to make us successful. What we are grateful for right now is the support we are getting in the community that enables us to keep our staff on payroll and working and planning for the times that we can come back together.
We haven’t shut our doors completely. Our conservatory classes are online now. There are about 500 kids per week doing theatre and dance classes via Zoom. Someday, we’ll be able to bring them back to our brand new classrooms.
I think we need to be ready to be a gathering place again. People may not be ready to come together when the government says they can, but we are a social animal.
Theatre does something that you can’t get another way. We will come back, and we need to, because the city and population needs us to.
Lisa: Sometimes when we look at that big number that we have lost, people might think that they want to do something, but is it insurmountable? Is it too big of a number?
Troy: It’s not insurmountable. We bring in 200,000 people a year. If each of those people contribute $2 to The Hanover Theatre COVID-19 Resiliency Fund, then we have $1,000,000. It absolutely makes a difference. It’s not just a contribution, it’s a commitment to come back to the theatre. The theatre is about community and relationships.